Bridge of the Gods night closures start Monday

Port will discuss raising bridge tolls at Nov. 21 meeting

As the Bridge of the Gods repair work enters its next phase, the structure will be closed to traffic at night starting Monday, Nov. 18.

The bridge will be shut down Monday through Friday, 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., starting next week, so that contractors can begin replacing and repairing the bridge’s “stringers,” or support beams that are corroding. There will no closures on the weekends, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years Day. The Port of Cascade Locks, which owns the 87-year-old bridge, anticipates that the nighttime closures will continue until work on the bridge is completed by the end of January.

The repairs are needed in order to restore the bridge’s weight restrictions, which were lowered to 8 tons by the Oregon Department of Transportation in July. Normally at 40 tons, the structure’s current 8-ton weight limit has essentially forced trucks off the bridge and to find another way to cross the Columbia River. During the nighttime closures, emergency vehicles will still be allowed to cross the bridge, although the port estimated it could take “up to 30 minutes for the work crews to clear the bridge so that emergency vehicles can pass over the bridge.”

Work on the bridge began last month and is expected to continue until the end of January, but the repairs needed to restore the structure’s original weight restrictions are expected to be finished by the end of 2013.

The port received $1.4 million in state and federal funding and contributed $170,000 of its own funds to complete the project and has started a bridge repair and replacement fund to address long-term infrastructure concerns. In order to help support the fund, the port has discussed the possibility of raising bridge tolls. Port of Cascade Locks Interim General Manager Paul Koch said a discussion on a possible toll increase will occur Thursday, Nov. 21, at 5:30 p.m. — half an hour before a regularly scheduled port meeting at Cascade Locks City Hall.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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